Thursday, March 23, 2006

NHS Blog Doctor: I'm all right, Jack

The attached article about Mr Bliar strikes a chord with me as one of my work mates is currently in this position. He has just had another appointment delayed for 2 weeks.

He has now been waiting over a year for some sort of succesful treatment. The worst thing about this, is that, up until about a year ago he had the symptoms but was blissfully unaware of what was wrong.

It was only at a simple interview for participation in a Company Health Programme that concerns were raised. To cut a long story short over the past year he has had a variety of treatments / problems / appointments none of which have so far sorted out the problem for any length of time and in somes cases the side-effects seem to be worse that the condition.

Whilst we tend to joke about him nipping in for a quick electrocution and offering him some quick DIY surgery with a balloon and a penknife, he has had a year of worry.

I obviously don't know the full facts about his case, but the treatment of Mr Bliar does make you think.

Also can I just recommend NHS Blog Doctor as being a good read and exposure of the NHS as it is today. This is from a GP with a wealth of experience who voted New Labour 10 years ago, in the now mistaken belief it would renew the NHS.

NHS Blog Doctor: I'm all right, Jack

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

One of the many reasons we moved to Tarland

About two years ago whilst living in rented accomodation we saw a possible house in Tarland. We weren't really that sure where that was but knew it was close to the Aboyne area where we were looking for houses. The advert on the Property Centre wasn't that great but as there were so few houses on the market we thought we would go and have a look. One problem, there was about 15-30 cm of snow on the roads to Tarland, but having been told they were passable with care, we drove out to Tarland on a lovely cold March day.

One of the many great views that day was of coming out at the top of Queens View about 2 miles from Tarland. It was then a very snowy scene but with a view of many miles.

I now get to to see this view twice every working day as I drive to work and it is still a privilege.

Is this how Blair affords his Mortgages

John Lidstone wrote the following on Lloyd George. Is Mr Bliar the new Lloyd George?

"Lloyd George perfected this lucrative trade. He appointed an honours broker, one Maundy Gregory who set up an impressive office in Whitehall. Those who called on Gregory found themselves in surroundings which had all the trappings of the office of a government minister. Even the flunky who ushered in the visitors to the inner sanctum wore a uniform which, to the untrained eye, looked like an official government Messenger.

In this stage setting, Gregory interviewed well-heeled businessman, newspaper owners, politicians on the make, crooks and status seekers, to discuss how they might help the government in return for a consideration. And the consideration was an honour. The costs were: a viscountcy from £80,000 to £120,000 depending on your bank account; baronies from £30,000 - £50,000; baronetcies from £25,000: and for run of the mill knighthoods the rate was £10,000 - £15,000.

When the Order of the British Empire was founded by George V in 1917, Lloyd George is said to have asked Gregory what he could ask for an OBE, Gregory's reply was 'about £100 a time'.

Between 1917 and 1922 when Lloyd George resigned, 25,000 people had received the OBE. A nice little earner. Lloyd George is estimated to have amassed in his private bank account over £1.5 million pounds from the sales of honours. (Value £150 million today). As a child, in the 1930s, I remember seeing how he had spent some of this money on his estate at Churt, in Surrey.

Gregory, according to John Walker, author of 'The Queen has been pleased', was paid £30,000 a year from the traffic in honours. A letter published in The Times in 1918, signed by 25 peers included the comment that 'honours may come to be regarded as Dishonours'.

As a result of Lloyd George's scandalous conduct, the exploitation of the honours system for gain was made illegal under The Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

UK peerage for sale! Going Cheap.

Want to buy a UK Peerage. Heres where to find one.

UK peerage for sale on eBay | The Register

Clearing the Air Scotland

A reminder to all you smokers out there in Scotland that you become official Lepers in 5 days time.

Even living in West-Aberdeenshire, which has one of the best smoking records in Scotland, more than 100 people die every year of directly attributable smoking related diseases. This is more than 2% of all deaths.

In the worst region (Glasgow Shettleston) nearly 10% of deaths are caused by smoking. The life expectancy of all males in Shettleston is 63.9 years versus 76.7 in West Aberdeenshire, the difference is not all due to smoking, but much of it is (Chibbing, murder and drug and lard overdoses are more common in Shettleston).

So before you light up again, think and stub it out. You know it makes sense!

Smoking Ban Scotland, Scottish Executive Smoke Free Laws - Clearing the Air Scotland

Monday, March 20, 2006

Malcolm Runs again

My middle son was running again at the weekend. This time at Castle Fraser in another of the Tartans Shorts 2K fun runs for Kids. He managed a creditable 29th place. A little more practice (when its not so snowy) might help him. His friend Darren managed a very good 12th place.

How Malcolm likes running is a bit beyond me. I always thought it was a bit like banging your head against a wall, great when you stop!

Civil war over 'shambles' of Follyrood's faulty roof

Can it get any worse, or is that, funnier than this.
The whole building, and the Parliament and MSP's,
should be returned to whence they came from
as "Not fit for Purpose".

Keep up with the fiasco of Follyrood here

Civil war over 'shambles' of Holyrood's faulty roof: "Civil war over 'shambles' of Holyrood's faulty roof"

Aberdeen 3-0 Livingston

Aberdeen have done themselves a lot of good with this win. If they can win next Saturday against Motherwell, they will likely get into the top six for the rest of the season. Caley have a difficult fixture on Wednesday when they visit Celtic who should be on a high after their CIS cup win in Sunday.
Reaching the top six seems like such a poor acheivement compared to 20 odd years ago when Aberdeen where battling for premiership honours. Having watched the BBC program "That Was The Team That Was" on Friday night it brought back some memories. Apart from the final itself, the biggest highlight was the Bayern Munich game at Pittodrie. Who will forget the free kick "mixup" that led to the 2nd goal. An old trick for Aberdeen but one Bayern had obviously not seen.
The aftermath of that game is still a haze to me.

BBC SPORT | Football | Scottish Premier | Aberdeen 3-0 Livingston

Italy 10-13 Scotland

Good to see Scotland finish off the Six Nations with a win in Italy. This is now no easy place to get a decent result as many teams will testify to. The game was also much better than many played in the championship as both Scotland and Italy played a much more open game.
Coming third in the championship after the dire predictions for this season was quite an acheivement, particularly as the auld enemy came fourth!
BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Six Nations | Italy 10-13 Scotland

There are 2 million Cobol programmers in the world. Thats a fact! (thanks Katie)

As an old (well relatively) COBOL programmer it is good to see it is still in demand. I personally haven't coded in COBOL for about 7-8 years, but it was one of the best languages I have ever used. OK it was a bit wordy but it could do just about everything and, if written properly, was just about self-documenting.
Amazing to see that even nowadays there are still more active Cobol programmers than any other language and that more transactions are done in Cobol than Web pages are served.

COBOL Resartus | The Register